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Rare achievements for Guilderland and Bethlehem wrestling

The Guilderland wrestling team had its best Sectional performance in four years, and the Bethlehem wrestling team had its first Sectional champion in 10 years at Saturday's Class A championships at Columbia High School.

Guilderland finished second to Class A powerhouse Shenendehowa in the team standings with 185.5 points. The Plainsmen cruised to their sixth consecutive Class A crown with 268 points.

We've got our first (runner-up) plaque since 2005 and only our second (overall) in the last 20 years, so I couldn't be happier, said Guilderland coach Corey Rogotzke.

Bethlehem also had its strongest team finish in years, placing sixth out of 11 teams with 95.5 points.

Mike Bonacci provided the excitement for Bethlehem wrestling fans. The senior edged Ballston Spa's Ben Cook 2-1 in the 171-pound finals to give the Eagles their first Sectional champion since 1999.

"I worked really hard during the off-season," said Bonacci. "This was my whole goal this year " to place at Sectionals and hopefully win."

Bonacci scored the only takedown of the match in the first period and avoided a late takedown attempt by Cook in the third period to secure the title.

"It was hard," said Bonacci. "My whole body was telling me to quit, but I just pushed on and drove him down to the mat (to avoid the takedown)."

Guilderland had two individual champions among its six finalists. Matt Cubillos downed Saratoga's A.J. Rue 12-2 to claim the 130-pound title, and Devan Van Auken defeated Colonie's A.J. Monin 9-6 for the 215-pound championship.

Cubillos set a Guilderland record for career wins during his run to the Class A title. The senior scored a first-period pin against Colonie's Brandon Guthrie in the semifinals to break Roger Sawyer's record with his 159th career victory. Cubillos' major decision over Rue increased his total to 160 wins.

"It feels really good," said Cubillos. "I was told in eighth grade that I could do it."

Kevin Bates (112 pounds), Matt Hart (135), Greg Reinhart (140) and Eugene Sellie (160) settled for second place at Sectionals.""

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